You know exactly who that is.
When you intend a breath – count it, hold it, feel it, whatever puts your attention upon it – it becomes power. The more you do it, the more you’ll feel the power.
If you’re reading about the internal dialogue, you’ve likely been working on your meditation and intentional breathing with high enough goals to be encountering the internal dialogue in a serious way. One thing us breathers can agree on, with the mental conflict we all have, is the importance of stilling our thoughts so we can focus on what we want, and reach our true selves.
We started this blog as Focus Desire or Release Into Peace, the first question serious breathers wind up asking in one way or another. We’ll definitely get there, but our struggle and resulting realizations with the internal dialogue pushed its way into a priority. The amount of progress we’ve made, since we found a way to handle this, is amazing.
That mental conflict is known as the internal dialogue and I’ll have you know it has nothing to do with thinking. Our internal dialogue is more like a playback of previous episodes of our life, and the scenes are not at all well edited.
In other words that playback we’re constantly hearing is not the good stuff from our lives, not the highlights or even just the facts. It’s more about doubt and fear, judgements running rampant, nagging tasks left undone, not having enough time, frustrated desires, the lie you told the boss.
The internal dialogue is the stuff that comes when you try to focus, also when you try to relax, or when your girlfriend is asking something pertinent and you’re thinking about what that guy said at the gym.
How does an event in our lives make it on the internal dialogue playlist?
The guy at the gym said, “Bet your Mama doesn’t know you’re trying to lift weights all by yourself.”
When you take a step at him, he laughs and slaps you on the back. You feel a bit stupid because your Mama did protect you a bit much and that’s history you’d hoped was gone out of your life. This has been quietly, unconsciously, nagging at you and joins the playlist, in spite of it happening almost 20 years ago. We still think about what we should have done, what we should have said. Crazy.
Think about all those moments when we were in a peer pressure situation where those judgements, fears and doubts were flying around in the silence of our minds and heart.
Give it a minute, locate some of those replays and think about how long they’ve been on the internal dialogue playlist.
Another example might be fear-based. If you are trying to do a complex project but can’t stop thinking about the fact that you have to ask the landlord for mercy, for instance, one could say that is internal dialogue, at that moment, getting in the way of your project.
How about wondering in some way, all the time, if you are good enough? If you have enough? Anybody familiar with that one?
How about us jealous folks? How do we deal with the constant suspicion, showing up whether it’s justified or not?
You see it. Concerns, doubts, deadlines, relationships, entanglements, confusions, all those, in some form or fashion, rather quietly, muttering in our ears, making their presence known when they don’t count. Can you imagine if we could stop that noise? How that might improve our focus? Our confidence?
Thinking, Knowing and Being
Those examples, Dear Readers, are not thinking. Thinking is now, it’s focused, it has depth and width and relevance. Thinking leads to knowing.
Unresolved issues of any kind, like Mommy/Daddy issues, resentments, abuses, and the long list that follows act like thinking. They’re so close to our active, focused mind, that no matter how well we deny them, they find a way to show up, either with the constant murmur, or taking the stage, so to speak, with drama, depression or tantrums.
Editing the Internal Dialogue Playlist
On a personal level, when we finally began taking the internal dialogue seriously, we found that several of our major life obstacles connected directly to the murmurings from the playlist. For instance, the fear of failure was showing up in our internal dialogue, murmuring behind our backs, at the very moment we were applying courage to our efforts.
That made it very clear: it’s time to Stop the Internal Dialogue if we want to accomplish something, if we want to heal, if we want to take an alert, responsible approach to our lives.
We said the following in Intentional Breathing: Let’s Do this!:
“When distracting thoughts come, accept them without judgment, let them go as soon as you can, and continue the breathing count as best you can, without judgements of your abilities, until you finish.”
As we explained, that’s a universal response to those mental interruptions that come at us, but as you can see the problem is a little more complex. The advice is indeed solid; however, we believe dealing with the internal dialogue to see where the noise comes from, is worth the effort if we can improve our focus or the bliss of emptiness, whichever may be our goal.
Our work with this debilitating internal dialogue was a long time coming. We studied, but mostly we stumbled into a decent understanding of the concept. The result has been more clarity, more success and more peace while we meditate. Maybe we can share some of that.
Our next article will make a serious attempt at giving you a viable way to observe the inner dialogue so we can defeat the nasty beast all at once and /or a little at a time.